The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Osprey (Schooner), aground, 7 Oct 1858

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LOSS OF THE SCHOONER OSPREY. - We learn by telegraph from Oswego, that the schooner OSPREY, of Buffalo, with a cargo of wheat was driven against the east pier, carrying away her spars. She sunk immediately. The Captain's wife and child and mate were washed overboard and drowned.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Saturday, October 9, 1858

      . . . . .

      Loss of the Captain's wife and child and Mate.
      We were visited by one of the most powerful gales of wind from the west, on Thursday that has been experienced during the season. The wind suddenly shifted round soon after noon from the southeast to the west, and blew with tremendous fury during the latter part of the afternoon and all night. Between eleven and twelve o'clock P.M., an immense black cloud came up from the northwest, and the gale rose almost to a whirlwind, and hail and rain fell to a considerable depth The power of the waring angry elements were felt in every dwelling, and occasionally a squall would come that would cause every house to tremble to it's foundations.
There were quite a number of vessels bound for this port from the Upper Lake Ports, on Lake Ontario when the gale arose. All of them, however, rode it out gallantly, so far as we have heard, and 12 or 15 sail entered this harbor during the afternoon and night without any material injury, except the schooner OSPREY Between 11 and 12 o'clock, and after the hail storm had set in, the OSPREY, Capt. John Parsons, reached our port. The gale was at it's highest fury. He succeeded in passing the jaws of the piers, and was just congratulating himself that all was safe, when a squall struck him, and carried his vessel broadside with tremendous violence against the East Pier, shattering her hull from stem to stern, and carrying away her masts and rigging. She was then at the mercy of the waves. The Captain had his wife and child on board. He found the vessel was sinking, and hastened to the cabin and called his wife to follow him, in hope of making their escape upon the Pier. He took his child in his arms, and his wife followed near him. They had proceeded but a little ways towards the forward part of the vessel, when a tremendous sea swept the decks, throwing him forward under the fore boom, and disengaging his child from him. He recovered his feet
again and got hold of his child, which he was obliged to hold in his teeth by its clothing. His wife was missing. He called immediately for her, but she had been swept overboard and lost. - Soon another sea swept over the decks, throwing the Captain clear forward and sweeping his child from him into the sea, and that was lost also. George Crine, the mate, and brother-in-law of Captain Parsons, was also swept overboard and lost. The vessel then swung round with her bowsprit over the pier, and the Captain and his crew made a sudden spring on to the bowsprit and from that to the Pier. One of the crew, however, was precipitated into the water, but succeeded after a desperate struggle, in getting inside the Pier, and was taken on board a canal boat. The steam Tug BLOORE afterwards took the Captain and crew from the Pier, where they would otherwise have perished.
The vessel soon sunk and pounded until she was pretty much destroyed. She was gradually driven up the channel by the sea, and in the morning lay directly across it at the head of the Island. In the afternoon yesterday, the PAGE got hold of the hull, and swung if round, and hauled out the rigging.
The vessel and cargo are totally lost, with all the clothing, papers, &c., of the Captain and crew. She was loaded with wheat from Racine, for Carrington & Preston. The vessel was owned in Buffalo and both cargo and vessel were insured in the Buffalo Mutual.
      The OSPREY's crew - We would call the attention of our citizens to the destitute condition of the crew of the schooner OSPREY. They have lost all their clothing and everything they had, and one of them had to borrow clothing to put on.
      Our citizens can hardly do less than afford them proper relief
      Oswego Commercial Times
      Saturday, October 9, 1858

      . . . . .

Bethel Meeting. -- Our harbor presented a very beautiful and animated appearance on Sunday. There must have been upwards of a hundred and fifty sail of vessels in port, they they lay from two to seven deep on each side of the river from the bridge down. Their colors were all flying at half-mast, the British and American ensigns and streamers harmoniously waving together, presenting an exceedingly gay and enlivened spectacle, with a tinge of gloom in remembrance of the melancholy fate of the OSPREY, and the loss of life by her.
In the afternoon, Rev. Mr. Phelps, Bethel Minister, held a religious service on the deck of the vessel opposite the City Hall. There was a very large concourse of people present, including sailors and others, who gave great attention and seemed deeply interested. A considerable number of Bibles and tracts were distributed among the hardy seamen, who received them with manifest pleasure and satisfaction.
      Oswego Commercial Times
      Sat., October 9, 1858

Handsomely Fitted Out. -- Our citizens have contributed liberally and a sufficient sum was raised to fit out the crew of the schooner OSPREY, who lost everything they had, by the wreck last week. The names of the crew are as follows: James H. Martin, of Oswego; Wm. Campbell, Daniel Andell, Joseph Dyer, Alex. Gardiner and John Palmer. Rev. A.J. Phelps, the Bethel minister, E.L. Wallace, and H.T. Buck, were severally instrumental in collecting the sum necessary. On Monday evening these gentlemen took the crew to a clothing store and fitted them out with good, warm and substantial suits of clothing, with shoes and caps, and then gave each a sum of money besides. The sum raised and thus donated was over one hundred dollars.
The hardy sailors feel very thankful for the kind and generous treatment they have receive, and request us to tender their heartfelt and cordial thanks to the citizens who contributed and to the gentlemen above named for the interest manifested in their welfare - acts of liberal kindness which the sailors say will ever be remembered by them, with gratitude, and the name of Oswego will ever be cherished with pleasure.
      Oswego Commercial Times
      Tuesday, October 12, 1858

      The tug WILLIAM MORGAN ran upon the wreck of the OSPREY, yesterday morning. Several hours labor placed her in a navigable condition again. She sustained but little damage. - Oswego Times, 19th.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Friday, November 26, 1858

NOTE;-- The OSPREY was built at Sandusky, Ohio in 1853 and was 247 tons. W.T. Richmond, Buffalo, listed as last owner in enrollment records, April 24, 1858.

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Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: 3
Freight: wheat
Remarks: Total loss
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.45535 Longitude: -76.5105
William R. McNeil
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Osprey (Schooner), aground, 7 Oct 1858